Port Talbot steelworks, photo Grubb (Creative Commons)

Port Talbot steelworks, photo Grubb (Creative Commons)   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Liberty Steel, employing 5,000 workers, mainly located in Rotherham, has gone bust. The government has rejected a £170 million bailout demand from its tycoon boss Sanjeev Gupta.

The demise of the steelmaking company follows the collapse of its principal backer Greensill Capital. It’s reported that former Tory PM David Cameron acted as a paid adviser to Greensill and had lobbied the chancellor Rishi Sunak for coronavirus support loans.

This mix of big business and leading Tories gets murkier. According to the Times: “Lex Greensill, the owner of the finance firm, enriched himself through a government backed loan scheme he designed after Cameron gave him access to eleven departments and agencies”.

As the recent scandal of government-backed secretive PPE contracts has revealed, handing over government keys to big business is no historic anachronism but a commonplace.

The trade unions should demand nationalisation of the ailing steel company to save jobs and working-class communities, along with a public, independent workers’ inquiry into the Greensill/government funding arrangements.